Cheap Eats 2011: Honey Pig (Gooldaegee)

These Korean-barbecue houses offer one of Washington’s unique dining experiences, a cultural collision in which American rap booms through the speakers and highly coiffed servers attend to sizzling tabletop grills. The industrially outfitted restaurants are also some of the liveliest ways to spend a night, especially in the wee hours when twentysomethings stop in for a sobering fill of deliciously fatty pork belly and spicy kimchee.

While you don’t want to miss the grilled meats, other parts of the menu are worth exploring. Those include chul pan–Korea’s answer to Spain’s paella–stocked with baby octopus and pork, as well as a scallion-studded seafood pancake.

To really get in the spirit, order a bottle of soju–and down it from shot glasses.

Also good: Bulgogi, garlic-soy-marinated strips of beef, or jumuluk (beef ribs), both grilled and meant to be wrapped in lettuce with jalapeños and sauces; spicy seafood-and-tofu soup.

Open 24 hours a day except Monday 2 am to 11 am.

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.